By Rob Cornell
Callum Kennedy is relishing the challenge of fighting for a place in the Dons defence and helping to bring about a change in fortunes for AFC Wimbledon.
The left-back suffered a worrying injury against Portsmouth when he was stretchered off with concussion, but he's now raring go, with an important match at Northampton up next.
"George (Francomb) has been playing very well at left-back," said Callum in an interview to our premium iFollow Dons channel. "He's versatile and can play pretty much any role and you know he's going to do a job. I'm also very happy to see Jon Meades back in training, it is great news for him and for me. I like competition! I think all of us pushing each other brings out the best in everyone.
"I'm absolutely fine now. I've been okay for about the last week or so. I think the rules have slightly changed in the sense of when you're allowed to play. I think it's a bit longer now and the doctor has a bit more of a say in terms of when you're allowed to come back to train and play games. Having to go to A&E meant it was a bit longer – I think it was a 19 day lay-off – and it had to be. I was joining in training, just non-contact stuff, and once that time was up, I was fine to join in again.
"I don't remember a lot about the injury to be fair! I know it happened just before half-time. I've seen it back on video, but in terms of what I actually remember of it – not much! I've had a few knocks on the head before, though I had not been concussed. It wasn't nice."
Callum spent last season with troubled Leyton Orient and their unsuccessful battle to stay in the league. Having returned to Wimbledon in the summer and now back at full fitness, he remains positive about Wimbledon turning results around.
"It can be disheartening, but this is a time you have to roll up your sleeves and a setback is just a route to a comeback in my eyes," added Callum. "It's more a case of working hard on the training pitch and on what we need to work on. We want to put it right on a Saturday and hopefully get the results to match the performance levels.
"It's just a case of keeping calm, keeping solid mentally and physically, and making sure that we stay on top of things, so that we can work hard to get out of it. The only way you can do that is through hard work and togetherness, which I think this club is built on anyway.
"We need to be calm and composed when we get our chances and try to take them. That applies to everyone, not just the strikers, and I think the whole team can be chipping in with goals. If everyone is chipping in and working harder – the only way is up."
Callum knows that Wimbledon's unique spirit both on and off the pitch has helped the Dons achieve before, having been a part of the play-off winning side at Wembley in 2016.
"The team spirit will always be good," said Callum. "We've got too many good guys in there and we don't have to worry about that. It's probably just a case of pushing each other a bit more, maybe that extra five per-cent. We need to work a little bit harder, have a look in the mirror each night, knowing that we've done all we can on that day. I think you'll only see things move forward.
"I don't think fans even realise at times how much their support does help on the pitch. If you hear ten people, a thousand or ten thousand fans, hearing your fans supporting you loyally through thick and thin definitely gives you that extra yard. It helps you dig that little bit deeper, so any support we get is much appreciated."
The full, six-minute interview with Callum Kennedy is available to subscribers of iFollow Dons, along with the views of assistant manager Neil Cox, ahead of the trip to Northampton.